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vintage jon stewart footage January 30, 2008

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, comedy, media, politics, television.
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With Mike Huckabee’s surge in national prominence following his win in the Iowa caucuses, both Stephen Colbert and Conan O’Brien attempted to take credit for his newfound popularity, claiming they “made” him. Last night on “The Colbert Report,” Jon Stewart dropped in to settle the score by claiming — with VHS footage from the erstwhile “Jon Stewart Show” — that he, in fact, had made Conan O’Brien, keeping victory within the Comedy Central family. Watch:

hitchens on huckabee January 7, 2008

Posted by AP in 2008 Elections, comedy, politics, religion.
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a bit of vitriol from slate:

Isn’t it amazing how self-pitying and self-aggrandizing the religious freaks in this country are? It’s not enough that they can make straight-faced professions of “faith” at election times and impose their language on everything from the Pledge of Allegiance to the currency. It’s not enough that they can claim tax exemption and even subsidy for anything “faith-based.” It’s that when they are even slightly criticized for their absurd opinions, they can squeal as if being martyred and act as if they are truly being persecuted.

“the iowa scam” January 3, 2008

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, news, politics.
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i would rather have all the states vote in primaries on ONE day than supposedly give lesser known candidates an opportunity to campaign in a smaller state and gain momentum. if we started over today there is no doubt that no one would push for this as the ideal nomination process. you can argue that it’s harder for an unestablished candidate to run a national campaign, but it’s also A LOT easier for an established candidate to run one that’s catering to approx 150,000 people. it’s also undemocratic and a terrible way to choose a presidential candidate, as christopher hitchens puts it… (“the mechanics of caucusing” at tnr)

christopher hitchens at slate:

Every now and then, in the avalanche of tripe coverage that is provided by a mass media that (never forget) is the direct beneficiary of the huge outlays of money the candidates make, a sentence of ordinary truth shines through. Thus the following, from the bended-knee profile of Mike Huckabee, by Zev Chafets in the New York Times Magazine, describing events in the last week in October, when:

[T]he Hawkeye Poll of the University of Iowa was published. Huckabee had 13 percent, in a virtual tie with Rudy Giuliani for second place, behind Mitt Romney with 36. At that point, the Huckabee bandwagon didn’t seem all that amazing to Iowa veterans. “Actually, it is pretty straightforward,” said Prof. David Redlawsk, director of the University of Iowa’s Hawkeye Poll. “About 45 percent of 85,000 or so Republican caucus voters are evangelical Christians. Roughly half of them automatically vote for the most socially conservative candidate in the race, and it looks like they have decided that’s Huckabee. The other half can be won over, too—if they think he’s electable.”

The term of choice for the more thoughtful reporters, in describing the Iowa rules, is “arcane.” Kurtz used it, as did his colleague Dan Balz, in briefly telling the truth about the even more scandalous situation on the Democratic side:

With its arcane caucus rules, Iowa remains a small battlefield. Only 124,000 Democrats voted last time, less than a quarter of those eligible. So if Barack Obama, say, edges Hillary Clinton by 2,000 votes, he’ll be hailed in headlines as a giant-killer despite the tiny margin.

the huckabee factor December 17, 2007

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, econ, news, politics, religion.
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nytimes magazine:

But things have changed since then. Huckabee says he believes that the next president of the United States will have to lead Western civilization in a worldwide conflict with radical Islam. For a man with that kind of ambition, he has not been particularly well briefed. On Dec. 4, for instance, he was asked about the National Intelligence Estimate released the day before, which found that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Huckabee said that he hadn’t seen it, though it had been the top news story in the country, maybe the world, for the previous 24 hours.

At lunch, when I asked him who influences his thinking on foreign affairs, he mentioned Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, and Frank Gaffney, a neoconservative and the founder of a research group called the Center for Security Policy. This is like taking travel advice from Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, but the governor seemed unaware of the incongruity. When I pressed him, he mentioned he had once ”visited” with Richard Haass, the middle-of-the-road president of the Council on Foreign Relations. Huckabee has no military experience beyond commanding the Arkansas National Guard, but he doesn’t see this as an insuperable problem. ”What you do,” he explained, ”is surround yourself with the best possible advice.” The only name he mentioned was Representative Duncan Hunter of California. ”Duncan is extraordinarily well qualified to be secretary of Defense,” he said.

Huckabee does not have an impressive grasp of its details. When I suggested, for example, that consumers might evade the tax simply by acquiring goods and services for cash on the black market, he seemed genuinely surprised. 

As a premillennialist evangelical, Huckabee also has no problem with enforcing the law, at the border or anywhere else. ”A person with a biblical worldview of human nature says humans are by nature selfish,” he has written. ”We are not basically good; rather, we are basically self-centered. . . . Only two things will change this behavior: either our nature will be changed by a supernatural experience with God through Christ, or we will fear the consequences of not doing the right thing.”


scientists push candidates for positions on science December 14, 2007

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, news, politics, religion, science, tech.
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disagreeing with bill nye the science guy really is beyond the pale…


A Who’s Who of America’s top scientists are launching a quixotic last-minute effort this week to force presidential candidates to detail the role science would play in their administrations — a question they say is key to the future of the country, if not the world.

The candidates did not respond immediately, but most of the Democratic contenders for the White House have released science policies. And Sen. Hillary Clinton has repeatedly slammed the Bush administration’s science record.

Republican candidates can be forgiven for not immediately responding to the call for a dialog on science. Iowa front-runners Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee were busy sparring this week over whether Romney believes Satan and Jesus Christ are brothers — a relatively obscure doctrine of Romney’s Mormon faith.

But also on board are 11 Nobel laureates in science, the editor of Scientific American, the president of Princeton University, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and other academic luminaries in the field. Krauss calls the drive bi-bipartisan, noting the inclusion of Norm Augustine, the retired CEO of Lockheed Martin, and Richard Garwin, who was on the White House’s Science Advisory Committee under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Minnesota Republican congressman Jim Ramstad is also on the list.


huck and chuck November 19, 2007

Posted by AP in 2008 Elections, comedy, politics.
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presidential candidate mike huckabee gets some campaign help from chuck norris.

the evangelical crackup? October 27, 2007

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, politics, race, religion.
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obama with rick warren

from nytimes:

In the past, Hybels has scrupulously avoided criticizing conservative Christian political figures like Falwell or Dobson. But in my talk with him, he argued that the leaders of the conservative Christian political movement had lost touch with their base. “The Indians are saying to the chiefs, ‘We are interested in more than your two or three issues,’ ” Hybels said. “We are interested in the poor, in racial reconciliation, in global poverty and AIDS, in the plight of women in the developing world.”

He brought up the Rev. Jim Wallis, the lonely voice of the tiny evangelical left. Wallis has long argued that secular progressives could make common cause with theologically conservative Christians. “What Jim has been talking about is coming to fruition,” Hybels said.

Conservative Christian leaders in Washington acknowledge a “leftward drift” among evangelicals, said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and the movement’s chief advocate in Washington. He told me he believed that Hybels and many of his admirers had, in effect, fallen away from orthodox evangelical theology. Perkins compared the phenomenon to the century-old division in American Protestantism between the liberal mainline and the orthodox evangelical churches. “It is almost like another split coming within the evangelicals,” he said.

After decades when evangelical megachurches have exploded at the expense of dwindling mainline congregations, Gardner is poaching the other way. Each Sunday night he convenes an informal emergent church worship group of his own, known as Next Wichita. Several dozen people, mostly 20 to 30 years old, show up to break bread, talk Scripture and plan volunteer projects. “People in that age group are much more attracted to participatory theology, very resistant to being told what to do or what to think,” he said.

Huckabee told me that he welcomed a broadening of the evangelical political agenda. “You can’t just say ‘respect life’ exclusively in the gestation period,” he said, repeating a campaign theme.

But the leaders of the Christian conservative movement have not rallied to him.

In the Wichita churches this summer, Obama was the Democrat who drew the most interest. Several mentioned that he had spoken at Warren’s Saddleback church and said they were intrigued. But just as many people ruled out Obama because they suspected that he was not Christian at all but in fact a crypto-Muslim — a rumor that spread around the Internet earlier this year. “There is just that ill feeling, and part of it is his faith,” Welsh said. “Is his faith anti-Christian? Is he a Muslim? And what about the school where he was raised?”

“Obama sounds too much like Osama,” said Kayla Nickel of Westlink. “When he says his name, I am like, ‘I am not voting for a Muslim!’ ”

while this piece isn’t shrill, i think it does give the wrong impression of an overstated leftward shift of evangelicals. while both sides of the new split are disappointed with bush, some are disappointed with iraq, corrpution etc. and others are are disappointed because he didn’t follow through with the evangelical agenda. so just because there is an understandable general move away from the republican party right now (and naturally, a % of those shifting are going to be part of the evangelical voting bloc), it doesn’t mean this is necessarily a radical transformation. the warrens and hybels are still in the minority, and the rest of the evangelical flock is moving away from bush because he wasn’t socially conservative enough. so you have one bloc (“liberal” evangelicals), which is quite small, adding a lot of members and then you have another bloc (“right-wing” evangelicals) which is still huge in comparison after the losses, looking for a president even more to the right on social issues.